Sunday, July 12, 2015

Comic Con Meets Misfortune

Comic Con and the Adventures of those Less Fortunate

This weekend I was fortunate enough to spend two days at the San Diego Comic Con, but this isn't a story about the costumes I saw, the panels I sat in on, or the neat things I bought. That story is coming later, this is a story about someone I met who may have changed my life. 

The first day of Con I was walking with a friend to get lunch at some food trucks that had gathered in a parking lot set up like the world's nerdiest carnival. Call it Mardis Geek. Anyway, as we were walking over the bridge to get to the lot where the food trucks were set up we passed a woman pushing a stroller. Not in and of itself unique. Haggard looking parents pushing a stroller are legion at the convention. She was different from the rest for two reasons. She was dressed like a hippie, and the stroller clearly was packed with all her worldly possessions, including her young son. She has a sign, "Mom and super hippie dippy kid need help. Anything helps, god bless you."

In my cynicism I dismissed her. "I don't have anything to give right now. Even if I did I'm not giving her money so she can go put it up her arm." Thus satisfied with my superior station in life I kept walking. I was in for a rude awakening. 

I ran into her again the next day when I went to Ralph's in search of coffee and breakfast. She was in the baby food aisle buying applesauce packets for her kid, just like any mom. He was fussing, and she sounded desperate. I yanked my head out of my cynical orifice and opened my wallet and handed twenty dollars. She nearly broke down in tears, and I took my cynicism out and buried it alive. In addition to the twenty bucks I bought her a sippy cup so she could give her son water, a packet of Gerbert fortified baby yogurt, and wipes. She told me how she had come to be there and I realized something critical. She's not a "bum," or a drug addict, or a loser. She was bright, even articulate, and she had been dealt as raw a deal as anyone I've ever heard of. She could be me or anyone I know under the right, or more appropriately, the wrong circumstances.

When everything was bought and paid for she called me an angel, "a real angel," she said. Which was interesting because I was wearing my Doctor Who Weeping Angels t-shirt.

I played a little with the kid. Gave him a high five, and made funny faces that he giggled. They checked out and left the stored. I did too, and fought the urge to sob furiously. My heart was full of an anger so pure, so hot that I wanted to hit something. Not because someone had wronged them, which assuredly someone had, or because here was a small boy suffering in the midst of an orgy of consumer greed, but because it was infuriatingly unfair. He certainly hadn't had a choice in his circumstances, but there he was, an innocent victim caught in a whirlwind of misfortune.
So I'm writing to those of you still at the convention. If you see a mom pushing a little brown haired boy in a stroller packed with odds and ends, including a child sized guitar, help them out. Toss them whatever change you have from buying that con-exclusive lego set. Even if it's just a little bit, I guarantee you it's 500% more than they have already.

I ordinarily don't use this as a space for PSAs like some geek equivalent of Sally Struthers, but I feel safe putting it here because you're my people. Many of you, particularly the professionals, wouldn't be there if someone hadn't given you a hand up at some point, so we know the value of feeling that we're not going it alone.

If you see them, and you can toss them a few bucks, tell them the angel sent you. 

1 comment:

  1. Seems I definitely didn't need to go to Comic-Con this year, my friend. Just reading three of your posts I got my Professional Pass's worth!